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Friday, 9 April 2010

#waacking The Waacktitioners at April's Throwdown: Throw It Down and Waack It Up!

By Waacktitioner Princess Scribbles 
At the end of the first day of the year that actually felt like spring, came April’s Throwdown. The change in season brought with it a little more skin from host/'teaboy' Charlie Blue, and a new addition to a line-up which in the past has featured battles and showcases from graffiti artists, beatboxers and all manner of dancers from breakers, poppers and even pole-dancers. This Thursday’s Throwdown welcomed The Waacktitioners.

As a member of The Waacktitioners, I am aware of and trying hard not to get swept up by the hype that has suddenly surrounded waacking. There’s no denying we stand out - as we arrived on Thursday night while it was still quiet and the b-boys were warming up, it was easy to pick each of us out in our shiny leggings and killer heels, as if the cast from Fame got lost in Brixton.

However, waacking is a funk dance, a club dance created in the 70s alongside locking and popping - it belongs on dance floors, and in circles in venues like Plan B (although not on the lino - they had to take that up lest we puncture it with our shoes!). It’s great to be a part of the waacking whirlwind, the word is very definitely spreading and an invite to Throwdown, where urban authenticity is maintained and celebrated (even the barman can do a flare) is a mark of the recognition it’s gathering.

Rumour has it that even Madonna wants a waack-attack: amongst those summoned to audition for her privately last week were The Waackers from LA and The Waacktitioners’ own Rhimes, aka Roxy 7.

Thursday night’s Throwdown line-up was characteristically entertaining with a warm up from percussionist Kwake of the Speakers’ Corner Quartet: a unique brand of live acoustic drums over a sample pad. More performances punctuated the night as he accumulated more members of the classically trained foursome including flutist ‘Biscuit’ and Emcee Huntley Brown creating a melodic, atmospheric twist on straightforward hip hop. Kwake calls it a tribute to producers, it’s like a DJ set but even more live and improvised.

You can catch them on 14th April at Charlie Wrights, 45 Pitfield Street, London N1.

The battles began with the beatboxers who were very well received, judging from the number of phones in the air, it’ll be all over Youtube.

The b-boy battle was massively oversubscribed with 26 b-boys and one b-girl showcasing to get on the grid, the crowd was five-deep and the dancers came hard. The final came down to Manny, Spin and ADF, after three rounds each, the judges still needed one more round to choose between Manny and Spin of La Familia Crew, finally awarding the bragging rights to Spin.

'Track from the hat' rounded off the show nicely with UK locking champion, 'Rowdy' making her debut on the wheels of steel and serving up funkstyle tracks that would otherwise never make it onto the lino; the musical lucky dip included Cotton Eye Joe, No Limit, Firestarter and I’m Too Sexy.

The Waacktitioners’ showcase, despite a couple of musical hitches, delivered our brand of bespangled disco groove. A friend of mine, when asked for her honest feedback wondered whether the Throwdown audience was ready for sequins and funk and perhaps that will remain to be seen.

Were you there? What do you think? You can comment below

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